My 80-year-old grandmother, a Mississippi native, always uses the most colorful language to describe the world around her. Words like "vegetables" became "veggibles," and her turns of phrase included gems such as, "you don't believe fat means greasy." My all-time favorite, though, was one she uses to highlight a high degree of unattractiveness: "as ugly as homemade sin." Examples: "That baby is as ugly as homemade sin," or, "Sister So-and-So's new dress is as ugly as homemade sin." The possibilities for this statement in my household were limitless.
As a child I often asked myself, WTF is homemade sin? This would only get mischievous laughter from my Granny. As an adult though, it dawned at me that in her generation, this was basically a euphemism for the f-word. Think about it: what is sin that you make specifically in your house? Let that marinate.
So what does this have to do with music? Well, in today's scene, newcomers are snatched up like little balls of clay and shaped, designed and packaged according to what their labels think is marketable and for what will sell the most units. This makes for a uniform (and surprisingly bland) group of artists to choose from. What we need is a breakout artist who is as ugly as homemade sin.
That's right, we need more ugly entertainers. And while the radio community has a leg up in this area, it's about time that singers get jiggy with it, too. Why are ugly performers so necessary, you say? For a number of reasons, but I'll just name two:
They shock people into appreciating them for their innate ability
Everyone knows that pretty people get what they want, especially in the music industry. Diana Ross, Rihanna, Keri Hilson -- these singers are blessed with beauty, and they all get a pass because everyone is too distracted looking at their goods. This means the listening audience is cursed with music that sounds like a Transformer having sex with the devil. If there were more "facially eclectic" musicians, they would naturally strive to prove their talent, therefore producing better music, which is better for the overall health of the game.
They set an example for the everyman
Look, everyone can't be
Al B. Sure! or DeVante Swing Common or Zo!. Why do you think the Jheri Curl Scourge of the '80s took such a firm hold in our community? Unattractive musicians let the people of the world know that there is hope for them yet. Case in point: Lil Wayne. His success says, "Hey guy with questionable facial features and a humpback, there is hope for you yet! You too can date and impregnate some of the world's finest women. You are not alone. I am here with you." Not that we'd need more Lil Waynes, but it'd nice to be able to identify with an artist who isn't quite Hollywood camera-ready yet; someone who still has a chip in their tooth, or whose boobs are too little (or too big), or like Jennifer Hudson who still has an insufferable regional accent despite their considerable talent.
Bring on the Susan Boyles of hip hop and R&B! Let these misfits stimulate the minds of the masses with their craggy physiognomy, and flummox the listening public with their beautiful sound. Too much sweet beauty can make your teeth hurt. Throwing some homemade sin into the mix is guaranteed to give music lovers the extra spice needed to keep shit interesting.